North Texas Soccer Club, on the road for the second consecutive game, played against South Georgia Tormenta FC for the final time in 2021. Two goals in two minutes were enough for Tormenta to hand North Texas their second consecutive loss.
Richard Sanchez returned between the sticks while Collin Smith moved back to the backline. Rio Ramirez, Mikey Maldonado, and Imanol Almaguer formed a more defensive midfield trio. Gabriel de Morais and Thibaut Jacquel were a part of the starting attacking line, along with Kazu, for the first time in 2021.
Tormenta opened the scoring in the 30th minute thanks to Luca Mayr.
Azaad Liadi doubled the lead quickly after the first goal making North Texas’ task of comeback much more difficult.
Ramirez, Gabriel, and Jacquel all made way for Blain Ferri, Gibran Rayo, and Nicky Hernandez at halftime.
Hope Avayevu was substituted for Collin Smith in the 73rd minute.
Lucas “Lucão” Da Silva replaced Derek Waldek as the final substitute in the 79th minute.
North got their second loss to South Georgia Tormenta FC by a score of 2-0.
Thoughts & Takeaways
Both sides preferred to move the ball quickly around the field rather than dribbling the ball a far distance. The frequent passing also features off-the-ball movement, or in some cases, lack thereof.
Tormenta started the match a little slow and had to cycle the ball back to their backline when the support was not present. As the match wore on, Tormenta excelled at moving the ball up the field with numbers leading to defensive concerns for the visitors.
North Texas started the game with a similar passing intensity and also had to cycle the ball to the backline when lacking numbers going forward. While Tormenta developed quicker, North Texas wasn’t able to respond to limit the forward progression of their opponent and had to be more reactive.
Uncharacteristic of the improvement that North Texas has made, the players struggled to connect with one another both offensively and defensively.
The disconnect, combined with the constant forward progression by Tormenta, lead to a defense that was on their heels while trying to form a stable defensive shape.
Offensively, North Texas wasn’t always connecting with each other in dangerous positions to threaten Tormenta. The buildup play and passes got players forward but once in the final third the final pass, touch, and run didn’t occur and the right moments.
One of North Texas’ greatest strengths is its ability to respond in-game and adjust its game plan. After going two goals down, North Texas played very differently in comparison to the first half.
Immediately after conceding two goals, and especially in the second half, North Texas applied plenty of pressure going forward forcing Tormenta to prioritize defending and therefore limiting any forward progression.
Defensively, North Texas committed large numbers behind the ball and transitioned quickly while sending the ball into space behind Tormenta players.
The strong response will serve North Texas well in must-win matches though the club will want to limit the number of reactive responses by controlling the game from the start.
North Texas has 26 points in 21 games and sits in 8th place. The club returns home to host Union Omaha on Sunday, September 19th, at 7 PM.